As we wrap up the first half of the year, recent events have demonstrated that our work has never been more important. For many of us, recent Supreme Court decisions have shaken our confidence in some of the foundational truths we believed about the United States. Trust in government is near an all time low, with both sides of the aisle saying the system needs reform. We’ve wrapped up our third pandemic school year with varying levels of quality and accessibility – factors often correlated with income and race, as well as unprecedented rates of anxiety and depression. The Great Resignation has forced us to reevaluate what we want and expect out of work. And the list goes on and on.
We could let these realities overwhelm us, or we could use this moment as an opportunity for creative destruction, in which we address the exposed brokenness of our systems and begin building the future we deserve. Our mid-year reflection asks what it would take to put equity at the center of our economy, schools at the center of our communities, and the public interest at the center of our technology.
Some solutions are technical in nature, such as improved software or inclusive policy design, while others are based on visionary leaders with transformative ideas and unrelenting grit. But one thing is clear – it will take a reimagined ecosystem to tackle the massive problems that stand before us. Our grantmaking over the past six months has sought to respond to the plethora of challenges facing our country today and build a more equitable and resilient society for generations to come. Our 2022 H1 grantmaking review provides an overview of the innovators and institutions we’ve partnered with this year to bring about the world we want to live in.
Read on to learn about some of the new and returning grantees that we have supported the first half of this year.
Creating an equitable workforce for generations to come
We believe that economic growth comes from harnessing innovation in a way that is inclusive and equitable. As the long-lasting effects of the pandemic continue to disproportionately impact low-income and diverse workers, we support the organizations working to propel community-driven innovation, create sustainable models to finance job training, and expand access to empowering social connections and opportunities.
In New York City, we awarded $750,000 over the next three years to COOP Careers, an initiative working to address the social capital gap by recruiting and investing deeply in diverse, low-income, and first-generation grads. Our grant will support the COOP Careers flagship program expansion in New York City through strategic, formal university partnerships.
We granted $400,000 over the next two years to Braven, which works with colleges around the country to help first-generation and underrepresented students gain career-readiness skills and land a strong first job. Our investment seeks to help Braven-NYC expand their impact within the CUNY system and build a system-wide, permanent solution to New York’s endemic talent gap for college students from diverse and low-income backgrounds.
We invested $50,000 over the next year to The New York City Workforce Funders Collaborative in support of grants that address systemic and structural barriers to quality jobs for low-income New Yorkers.
On the national stage, we awarded $1,050,000 over the next three years to support the ICA Fund, an organization that provides coaching, connections, and capital to grow Bay Area businesses and close the gender and racial wealth gap. Through our grant, we hope to support ICA’s work providing equitable access and opportunities to underestimated entrepreneurs, as well as expand its efforts to entrepreneurs of color and women in communities around the country. Photo Credit: ICA Fund, Proof Bakery.
We awarded $500,000 over the next two years to support The Families and Workers Fund, an organization that works to create good jobs and workforce equity through strategic grantmaking, collaborative partnerships, targeted programs, and philanthropic coordination. The fiscal sponsor of this grant is the Amalgamated Foundation.
We invested $400,000 over the next two years in Jobs for the Future to support its Financing the Future initiative as it explores new models for funding education and job training that can close the employment opportunity gap faced by millions of individuals nationwide.
We renewed our support to JUST Capital with a $300,000 grant over the next three years to help propel long-term, systemic change for America’s workers. Our investment will help JUST produce more actionable data and educational resources to help guide some of our country’s largest employers to create equitable pathways for career advancement and wealth building.
We granted $150,000 over the next year to Neighborhood Trust, a program focused on building worker financial security via individual, institutional, and market-level solutions.
Expanding access to STEM and CS Education
As rapid changes in technology impact our education system, we fund grantees focused on making sure no student is left behind by this digital transformation. Our investments support skilling individuals in future-forward fields like computer science, data science, entrepreneurship, invention, and biotechnology.
We awarded $175,000 over the next year to Columbia University’s eLab to support the continued development and scaling of its initiative to support education technology founders from around the globe and help develop pilot cohorts focused on entrepreneurs working in K-12 education.
We committed $150,000 over the next year to Bootstrap, one of the nation’s leading data science programs that seeks to integrate computing into existing K-12 classes. Our grant will support new initiatives in school systems in New Mexico and Michigan. Photo Credit: Bootstrap.
We granted $150,000 to The Computer Science Teachers Association’s Equity Fellowship over the next year. This investment will help elevate marginalized K-12 computer science teachers by accelerating efforts across the field to diversify CS.
We awarded $75,000 over the next two years to STEM Teachers NYC to support the creation of high-quality professional development for STEM educators in the New York City area.
Building the infrastructure of tomorrow
Following historic infrastructure investment from the Biden administration last year, we are committed to funding the people and programs working to harness this once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize our country’s systems. And as digital infrastructure continues to play an increasingly vital role throughout society, we’ve also invested in a number of organizations working to shape the future of technology policy.
As part of this work, we partnered with the Regional Plan Association (RPA), a nonprofit that develops and promotes ideas to improve the prosperity, sustainability, and quality of life around the New York metropolitan region. Our $300,000 grant over the next three years will support RPA’s work actively researching and proposing solutions for how to support the physical infrastructure of the tri-state area in ways that benefit the most residents possible. Photo Credit: Regional Plan Association.
We granted $500,000 over the next two years to the Mozilla Foundation to support the organization’s work building and scaling its Data Futures Lab, an experimental space for instigating new approaches to data stewardship challenges.
We awarded $350,000 over the next year to TechCongress to grow its fellowship program that recruits, trains, and pairs talented technologists with members of Congress to better inform federal policymaking.
We partnered with the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University with a $60,000 grant to support a series of meetings on how city Chief Data Officers can best use digital infrastructure to advance equity and bolster community engagement.
Reimagining effective philanthropy
A strong, vibrant nonprofit ecosystem is essential to society – which is why we invest in both the philanthropic community and the capacity of the nonprofits we serve. This year, we deepened our work with two long-time grantees that are pioneering new and effective models for our philanthropic peers.
We deepened our partnership with Feedback Labs, a field-building organization working to make listening and acting on feedback the norm in the aid, philanthropy, nonprofit, and government sectors. Through a $600,000 grant over the next three years, we will support the creation of new courses, help create a more cohesive feedback journey for our philanthropic peers, and connect more players across the industry to emerging feedback knowledge and learning. Photo Credit: Feedback Labs.
We built on our multiyear grant to The Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS), a global research center for students, scholars, and practitioners to explore and share ideas that create social change. Our $87,500 investment supported two of PACS’ signature events, its Data on Purpose Conference and its First Principles Forum.
As we begin to invest more deeply in the Atlanta area as part of our regional grantmaking strategy, we awarded $300,000 over next two years to support the pilot and scale of Passport Atlanta, an organization that leverages technology and gamification to provide opportunities for youth to gain exposure to interests and passions within their own local community. Our grant will help bolster outcomes for local students and connect them with the thriving tech ecosystem growing in Atlanta today.
Learn more about our work in Atlanta here.